Special to the Sun
Ron and Marsha Smith. Most of the people of the KRV know the couple as the owners of the newspaper. Often, they are identified with the Kern Valley Sun. That’s oaky. They have been the Sun’s owners since 2011, and Marsha has been the Publisher of the paper for 15 years, and with the paper since 1991.
Ron has been a building contractor in the KRV since 1979, and he and his crew have built many of your homes. After all of this time, and all of the hard work, great fun, and extreme dedication the Smith’s have given to the Kern River Valley, they are venturing out on a different phase of their adventure through life together. If you want to know when they are leaving or where they are going, you’ll have to ask them, this is not a gossip column.
Over the years, they have been honored in different ways by a number of organizations and people in the Valley, and they have even been mentioned Nationally for awards through the Exchange Club. Ron and Marsha have been The Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce Man and Woman of the Year and were recognized by Exchange Club with the Book of Golden Deeds. Ron and Marsha have also served the Valley on a number of boards, committees, and officers’ groups over all of these years. In some cases, they have even served beyond what was required or expected and did so willingly.
It is in the positions of President, Chairmen, and Past everything’s that they have been honored for by the community and by their peers. But, beneath that ceremony and tradition, Ron and Marsha have been the consummate ‘behind the scenes’ type of people. They have unselfishly and often, anonymously contributed their time, resources, and material to numerous Kern Valley events on an annual basis.
Every year, for over a decade, it has been the Smith’s RV that has served as the backdrop for the Exchange Club’s Annual Rubber Ducky Races held in Riverside Park in Kernville. In addition, Ron has taken the lead in making sure the park is transformed into a day for the Ducks by transporting the supplies and even labor needed to make this happen.
In recent years, Ron has added to the fun by designing and building a portable Rubber Ducky Race complete with Rubber Ducky’s, water, shoots, and pumps. Marsha has served as the Chairperson for the event, race organizer, and nudge (inspiration) for Ron. All of the club’s efforts in this event go towards donations of money to the schools to help the kids of the KRV through the Kern Valley Exchange Club. Along with this, for the Club, every year the Smiths hosted an installation dinner for the Officers and Board of Directors at their beautiful home in Wofford Heights.
For some, being a part of such a huge organization in the Valley might be enough, and by anyone’s standards, it is. Ron and Marsha, however, found many other ways to give back to the community they have called home for over 30 years. The Kern River Valley Chamber of Commerce is a passion that has been dear to both of them. Through the Chamber, not only as members but serving as officers, they have been influential in many things that have helped shape the Valley as a whole.
One of the events that they have seen so important to the well being of the community has been the Annual Lake Isabella Fishing Derby. From handling the raffle, to cashiering, Ron and Marsha have been instrumental in the success of the Derby working under the guidance of Chairman Fred Clark and co-chairs Fred & Elaine Roach.
They have played key, unseen roles in several other of the Chamber’s events. They have helped with the behind the scenes set up, tear down and promotion of the Annual Golf Tournament, managing to even play as partners to my wife and I and helping us to claim the four little ‘Last Place’ trophies, three years in a row. Better teammates do not exist.
The couple had more than a hand in developing what is now an annual event on the 4th of July, The Chamber’s 4th of July Barbeque. It has grown into a huge family happening, complete with games, bounce houses, and vendors that the community, kids, and adults alike, look forward to each year. Ron and Marsha are there, mingling, and keeping a low profile, making sure everyone enjoys the day. An awful lot of what the Kern River Valley is is their legacy.
There are so many more, invaluable hats that have been worn by the Smith’s to help grow and strengthen their beloved Kern River Valley that each cannot be mentioned here. Change is something that happens to us all. Sometimes it’s a small change, other times, it’s a little bigger. This year has been a year of a lot of change and adjusting. Some good has come from it, but for the most part, it has not been easy.
The change the Valley will feel when Ron and Marsha leave will be a bittersweet one no doubt. But when change happens so that someone can expand, and grow, that’s got to be a good thing. Ron and Marsha have been given that sort of an opportunity. They are like, maybe a stretch for Ron, teenagers leaving to explore the world, and saying goodbye to their familiar, secure world. Okay, that may be a stretch all around, but the point, my guess is, Ron and Marsha have worked hard for this opportunity, and now that it is here, they have decided to take advantage of it to the max.
What do we do? Get mad? Be jealous? Wish we were them? No. Those are all silly things to do. We say, Good Luck! We love you both! Be safe and stay healthy. Have fun, write to us, visit us, and every once in awhile, post pics on Facebook.
Ron and Marsha, thank you for everything you have done and have a great life out there guys!